Exams and Cleanings: An Essential Part of General Dentistry
By Byron J Nordhus D.D.S. on August 11, 2015
You brush your teeth after meals, you floss once a day, and you try not to eat too much sugar. With such great dental hygiene, do you really need to visit the dentist? The truth is that regular, professional general dentistry is essential, even if you maintain excellent oral care at home. Only a professional can eliminate plaque and tartar from your mouth. Your dentist can also identify the early signs of decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. With superior home care, you could still be at risk for these problems. We recommend scheduling your dental exams and cleanings every six months. With our detail-oriented approach and advanced technology, we provide effective preventive care for all ages. To schedule your next dental exam and cleaning, contact our Wichita practice today.
Why Are Exams and Cleanings Important?
During dental exams and cleanings, our team focuses on three primary areas of concern:
- Tooth decay: When you brush your teeth twice a day, plaque and tartar will still build up in your mouth. They will then trap bacteria against your teeth. The microbes will derive energy from starches, eating into your dental enamel. Eventually, they will reach the deeper layers of your tooth. Your hygienist can remove these substances before a cavity develops. Through regular exams, we can also diagnose decay in the initial stages. Sometimes, we can even catch it before you need a filling.
- Periodontal disease: Bacteria will not only gather on your teeth. They will also accumulate around your gums, eventually moving deeper into your soft tissues. Once below your gum line, they will create periodontal pockets. Over time, these pockets will grow larger. Your gums will recede, and you could experience significant bleeding and even tooth loss.
- Oral cancer: Routine dental care at home can do nothing to prevent cancer. Fortunately, however, early diagnosis is one of the most effective ways to beat this disease. Biannual visits will help us to discover lesions and other symptoms that could indicate the presence of oral cancer.
What Happens during a Dental Cleaning and Exam?
At each visit, your hygienist will first clean your teeth. She will use gentle techniques to dislodge plaque and tartar with little to no discomfort. Although our routine care is low-stress, we can also provide sedation if you are feeling anxious. Next, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums. If needed, he can use our DIAGNOdent® laser cavity detection to measure fluorescence in your teeth. In this way, your practitioner can find the otherwise invisible signs of decay. Usually at every other visit, we will take digital x-rays. These images are much sharper than traditional film, and they involve little radiation exposure. If needed, we can also take 3-D cone beam scans of your entire jaw. These images will reveal bone recession, dental misalignment, the symptoms of temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder, and more. Finally, your dentist will also conduct a visual scan of your soft tissues, looking for the signs of gum disease, as well as potentially cancerous lesions.
Who Needs Exams and Cleanings?
Dental exams and cleanings will benefit everyone. We encourage you to begin your little one’s dental care early. In this way, we can lay a strong foundation for future health by teaching you and your child proper oral care. We can also identify early misalignment or other issues, treating them before they affect your child’s permanent teeth.
Even if you are missing all of your teeth, you should still visit our office regularly. With dentures or implants, you are still subject to periodontitis. This condition can affect your jawbone and facial structure. Undiagnosed and untreated, it can even lead to a serious bone infection. In addition, your dentist can check for the symptoms of oral cancer and adjust your restorations, if needed.
Schedule Your Routine Care Today
Don’t let your dental health fall through the cracks. Contact us today to schedule a routine visit for yourself or someone in your family.
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“Dr. Nordhus and the whole team are simply amazing. Humble, professional, and always a delight to work with. Highly recommend.” Derek W.